They remained defiant even as they faced the formidable group of media reporters and an equally stern looking formation of armed police personnel. One of them, Promise Okafor, who claimed to be a lawyer insisted he was innocent. Another, the only female member of the suspected group of exotic car snatchers, Amarachi Ene kept insisting she was also innocent. She claimed being drawn into the gang by a 'boyfriend' who is unfortunately now at large. Only the leader of the group, Chimezie Emanere owned up to committing the crime. Even at that he refused the ignoble title of 'gang leader' and insisted he only supplied members of the group with master keys which they utilised in starting the cars they earmarked for stealing.
But commissioner of police, CP Shinaba Aderenle emphasised that the arrested gang was responsible for series of crimes in and around Abuja and specialised in stealing exotic cars. He also added that they were arrested after months of intensive investigative operations that took its toll on police personnel and resources. He, however, added investigations were still on to determine the different levels of involvement in the crimes and the arrest of other members of the group believed to be at large. "Their arrest was as a result of months of investigations. It was made possible in the course of investigations into a particular robbery operation on the 11th of August. Thereafter a team of our anti-robbery swung into action and arrested these suspects. We believe there are still others at large and investigations are ongoing. We are investigating the assertion by one of them named Promise that he is a lawyer with a view to knowing if it is true or not. We want to make it clear by this arrests that the FCT is set to make the city inhospitable for criminals or their cohorts. It is either they amend their ways of leave the city,' Shinaba said.
Promise Okafor, the suspect claiming to be a lawyer, insisted he is a lawyer by training with a degree from one of the South eastern universities. He also said he was called to the bar in 2001. He refused to give further details.
Some of the cars recovered from the suspects include Honda CRV Jeep (AL 99 BNY), Toyota Camry (BP 433 BRC) Infinity Jeep (SN 695 KJA), Toyota Hilux (SMK 680 AE), Toyota Prado Jeep (BQ 406 YAB), Toyota Corolla (MUS 598 AP) and three Toyota Camry models without plates numbers. A Honda Academy (AE 324 RBC), Ford Escape Jeep (no plate), Nissan Sunny (BM 792 FKJ) and Golf (FE 537 KRD) were also recovered. In addition to these were Three AK-47 guns and ammunitions allegedly recovered from them during the police operation.
The female suspect, Amarachi Ene from Anambra State told Sunday Trust that she was lured into the gang by a lover, Charles, who is now at large. She urged the police to help her locate the friend so that she could be vindicated.
Also paraded were another car snatching gang members, Paul Egwu, Samuel Chukwu, Nnamdi Umeh, Ifeanyi Udoh and Aliyu Ali caught with master keys they used to pilfer vehicles. Seven luxury cars were also recovered from them: Honda accord with no plate number, Honda academy (NJ 338 AJ), Nissan sunny (LQ 546 AAA), Honda academy (AW 804 KMS), a Honda civic vehicle, a Totota Camry and a Golf car.
The police said investigation continues while all the suspects would soon be charged to court.